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Across the United States, protestors are banding together to push back against lockdown regulations and social distancing requirements.
This weekend, hundreds of protestors are rallying in front of state capitol buildings across the nation to protest against the lockdown. Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina and Utah, states led by both Democratic and Republican governors, have all seen protests and protests in additional states are expected before the weekend is over.
This comes after Trump embarked on a Twitter rant with calls to “liberate” Minnesota, followed shortly by calls to “liberate” Michigan and Virginia as well.
“I think [the protestors] listen to me… They seem to be protesters that like me and respect this opinion. And my opinion is the same as just about all of the governors." Trump said during Thursday’s daily coronavirus press briefing.
Trump also tweeted criticism of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has recently spoken out against the federal response, stating that Cuomo “should spend more time ‘doing’ and less time ‘complaining.’”
The protests have been spurred on by conservative media as well as Republican leaders, some of whom have stated that the shutdowns and the resulting damage being caused to the economy and people’s incomes is greater than the threat to people’s health.
Governors respond to Trump and the protests
Several governors have hit back against Trump.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat, tweeted that Trump “is putting millions of people in danger of contracting COVID-19. His unhinged rantings and calls for people to “liberate” states could also lead to violence. We’ve seen it before.
“The president is fomenting domestic rebellion and spreading lies – even while his own administration says the virus is real, it is deadly and we have a long way to go before restrictions can be lifted."
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, also a Democrat, told CNN, “A small segment of the state is protesting and that’s their right.” Whitmer added that people are going “stir crazy” during the lockdown and are worried about paying their bills.
Whitmer went on to say that “the sad part is, though, that the more they’re out and about, the more likely they are to spread COVID-19 and the more likely we’re going to have to take this posture for a longer period of time."
What do Americans think of the efficacy of the lockdown?
The US has more than 738,000 cases of COVID-19 with over 39,000 coronavirus deaths. The pandemic has also claimed the jobs of over 20 million Americans.
Despite the protests, a recent Pew Research survey found that 66 percent of participants said they were worried state governments would lift restrictions too quickly.